- Choose CD program for tooling close-tolerance blank. 2) Make sure shaping machine cuts outline out of the blank correctly. 3) Machine shapes blank. 4) “Pre-cuts” go to production “shapers”, i.e. dudes with sandpaper. 5) Shaped blanks sent away to glass shop. 6) “Signature” on finished blank means nothing. 7) Brag to bros about cheap new “custom” board. 8) It`s all good, right?
I believe the free market answer to western job export is a little different than the conservative line. I think America needs a core of design, process and skilled cr, but the process has always been related to shifting technology. aftsmen, making things in order to remain a strong nation… to cover those periodic times that we’ve seen recently when nations turn inward for protection. Chinese aren’t hurting Americans by “stealing” jobs. The wages which go with those jobs will buy them two loaves of bread per day. I don’t think most of us would want those jobs. What’s stolen is the skill pool of workers currently trained in manufacturing processes. So we can buy custom boards cheaper, and spend our leftover board allowance on surf trips. The question then becomes… we were making surfboards to earn that board allowance. Heck, we were making surfboards to feed our families. If we can’t make surfboards then how are we gonna survive? But this isn’t just happening in the surf industry. It’s everywhere. Westerners have had to change jobs before. Ask any blacksmith. Some world cultures still use horses, but westerners moved on. But nobody has outgrown surfboards. We still want them. The point is, the job obsolescence process has always been related to shifting technology. Job obsolescence is not what’s going on here. Here’s my rant. The American investment market was dressed up to look safe and profitable in the 90’s while our politicians quietly threw money at threats which we should have been identifying and curing. This resulted in tremendously over-invested corporations. A lot of CEO’s conspired with bankers and accountants to filch the investment glut. This happened a lot more than has even yet been admitted. The result is a class rift. The rich became richer, and the middle class is falling. Another process which helped this split happened on the professional level. Our administration saw foreign doctors, engineers, designers, dentists, architects, etc making much less than American professionals, so we imported them. The same process has imported unskilled labor for decades, but not until the 90’ did our government turn on Americans trying to pull themselves off of the bottom. The process devalued the highly skilled jobs of the American middle class. A betrayal from a leader who had nothing but contempt for the American dream. Now lots of quality American jobs are going overseas. The good jobs which remain are being filled by imported labor. You lose your shaping job to a $2-per-day Chinaman. So you go to school… for what? The graduate jobs are filled by foreigners. As America’s middle class spirals downward, we have the option of being butlers for the assholes who stole our investment money and our jobs. Now as America’s new president uncovers more of these vile deeds, America’s press blames him for the deeds. After all, Bush comes from the “business” party. There’s gotta be some on him. If Bush starts deporting aliens, the press calls him a racist. And Americans with 5 minute memories forget about who caused the problems. Bush is stuck between Iraq and a hard place. Indicting more corporate assholes and exporting illegal aliens threatens his political future. Sorry, there just doesn’t seem to be much of an up side.
To start with, the Costco, etc. boards are a far cry from custom. We are about as far removed from the “shaper” as can be, no phone call to sharpen up the tail in the last 9", or boost the rocker here or there. I want as big as a gap between them and myself as possible, like Stewart proclaims, “The King of Custom”, no that’s me and I defy ANY Thai or Taiwanese to EVER come close to what I can produce, I have 42 years of shaping and championship surfing behind me and I think that gives me an edge that they will NEVER achieve. To widen this gap even further, on January first I raised my wholesale prices a flat hundred dollars a board. I don’t want to be mistaken for the other white meat, I mean “custom boards builders” from the SARS and Malarial capitals of the world. Let the chips fall where they may, surf by price only or stick with a truely hand made custom product, made for you, by us, guys only a phone call away. Who you gonna call when the boards does or doesn’t work, #2856, Mr Dihn Kee, night shift. Real shapers, real boards. I don’t need or want the customer who is shopping for price only, I’d like to be able to buy that second loaf of bread too. I’m gonna change the name of my boards to FUBU
One thing that would be interesting would be real sales numbers for customs vs. off the rack boards. However, those die hard custom customers are not likely to go to costco or wherever and start buying does taiwan boards. So what are you guys so worried about? regards, Håvard
You can make a case that any individual craftsman or group of craftsmen aren’t threatened by foreign job competition. Overall, Westerners are losing skilled jobs overseas. Yes, overall western workers are being harmed, and losing income to cheap foreign competition. I should be ashamed to admit it. I’ve only ordered one custom board. But I’ll bet a dollar to your dime that 80% of boards are sold off the shelf. It’s just too convenient for surfers who want to ride their new cool board TODAY! So only 80% of the surfboard market is threatened by Asian workers… no worries mate.
The Chinese are going to have the bottom of the market. As Noodle stated that may be up to 80% of the entire thing. Goodbye garage guys. That leaves the rest to the custom builder, but that may require changing to better technology. There is so much stuff out there right now. So many new options. I can’t believe almost no one is looking towards high tech for this industry and sports future.
The Garage Guys will be around.The “industry” has been trying to drive them out for years.Swaylocks is the Garage Guy central info center.If something is made by hand it is doable by anybody with the will too learn.I would bet that the majority of the folks that are attemting to build boards are doing it mainly for personal satisfaction and not to save a buck.
I’m not talking about the do it yourselfer. I’m talking about the small builder who is doing it on the cheap, for a living. His clientel looks for price first and asks questions later. Anyone who falls into this catagory is going to get hammered. I’m not trying to insult anyone or put anyone down but if your only hook is price then the Chinese are going to out price you. And these guys have been a thorn in the side of retailers for years. The retailers can’t wait to get em back. And anyone who doesn’t believe, just spend a Saturday at your local surf shop and watch. I’m seeing it before my very eyes.
I like Jim Phillips notion ( is he a former weber shaper like myself) I too have raised my prices accross the board. All you need to do is look at the guitar industry, there are plenty of “boutique” luthiers and amp builders who are charging MORE than industry standard I.E. rusty - fender et all . What this means is that if you want top dollar you better make an f***in good product that actually works or your gonna have to try to compete for that price point customer with ming fang! and he works for peanuts( or at least peanut sauce, mmmmm) food for thought indeed back to lurk mode-S.A. P.S. let me know when “mark” stops sanding with 40 grit and WSGing all his boards-
American shapers are initiating the overseas migration of shaping jobs. I would only expect them to try. I would expect your favorite core blank blowers to try the offshore move too. Not that that would be so terrible… only hypocritical. All this time they claimed to be our buds, our friends in buying and shaping blanks for quick market turnaround. Is their position now bullshit?
COUGH,COUGH,COUGH,CHOKE,GAG,what was that you,COUGH said.
So much of the industry blank hype centers around a company that says, “Dance with the guy that brought you” or they’ll offer other shapers the good deals. Are foreign shapers already getting the good deals? Anybody who’s saving their blank purchases out of loyalty could be gettin’ a screwin’. Loyalty is a two way street.
You racist bastards. You don’t seem to have any problems typing on keyboards made in Taiwan or reading posts off of monitors made in Malaysia, but somehow your surfboards are “precious” commodities that have to be “custom”. Get off your high-ass pedestals. Your boards are no better than any off-the-shelf, overseas boards and the only thing that makes them special is the surfer with the talent to ride them. Don’t blame the Chinese for your inadequacies. If they make it faster, cheaper, and better… Well, you’re screwed.
So American shapers are trying to keep their AMERICAN surfboard sales, and that makes them “racist”. S’cuse me, but where does your “precious” quote come from? What statement above is a “racist” statement? Where was that giant American custom keyboard and monitor industry displaced by Asians? Somebody must have hidden it. You’re the only one here saying that Chinese workers are making better surfboards. You’re wrong. Like most Chinese comodities, Chinese surfboards are adequate. Chinese “faster” comes from the assembly lines which their western bosses set up with their slave masters, and the worker’s knowledge that throngs of starving Chinese are waiting at the factory gate wishing that they could work as slaves. The only thing sending board building jobs overseas is cost. Chinese just do it cheaper. Nobody said any of the crap you’re trying to attribute to them. Nobody here displayed jealousy or contempt but you. People here are just trying to keep their jobs. So thanks for being compassionate to people losing their jobs, asshole.
But Billy Bob has a point. If you don’t build it better then how do you continue to deserve your clientel? The US manufacturers have the worlds best access to the worlds best composite materials and yet how many surfboard companies have even looked at making a better product? The Chinese DO HAVE an Achilles heel! But it’s up to the American builder to utilize his advantage. If you don’t…
white trash republican
Please ignore posts by this individual, he is not showing any respect to the nature of this forum.
I agree that American, even western, boardmakers have grown complacent in lack of material innovation. I also think that the move to epoxy/EPS could be one of the last giant leaps. The board buying public is only beginning to see the advantages of epoxy/EPS. Awakening the public has only been held back by intransigent board makers. Surfers don’t want what they’ve never seen. But epoxy/EPS boards are gaining a foothold. Exposure is happening. It’s only a matter of time til boaard buyers force western makers to use this method. When that happens the epoxy/EPS will also go overseas. The other commodities whose manufacture has migrated overseas have gone the same route, and competition has ended up muddled and perverted. In cars, “better” has meant import regulations and electronic whizbangs that break and need repair in shops geographically close to end users. In petroleum “better” has meant 50 different government imposed gasoline formulas which foreign mass refiners can’t keep up with. And nobody’s riding better cars with cleaner gasoline than 10 years ago. This is just an example showing that raising technology doesn’t keep the jobs where the buyers are after competition has its way. Nobody’s saying that any foreigners can’t do it as well. This dude said they could do it better. Methods need to change. Anybody can do that. I hope my countrymen, regardless of their skin color, do it first.
Chinese “faster” comes from the assembly lines which their western bosses set >up with their slave masters, and the worker’s knowledge that throngs of >starving Chinese are waiting at the factory gate wishing that they could work >as slaves. A glance at the CIA world factbook shows that the USA have a higher percentage living below the powerty line then China, although China have a much higher unemployed level. A few other interesting facts right off the sheet, China has a negative inflation(???) The US Industrial production growth rate: -3.7% (2001 est.) vs. 13.5% (2002 est.) for China. Think this is gonna change any time soon? The point? Dunno. I know one thing though, bashing the Chinese will not solve your problems. regards, Håvard
I’m not bashing the Chinese people, and I challenge you to quote where I did. …well, I’m waiting… I’m bashing the tyranical system of government that makes slaves of them. And I’ll bash it to you. Socialism SUCKS. Yeah, you can make 1 billion slaves work a whole day for supper. China is starting to let workers keep some of what they earn. As Americans have known all along, doing so provides production incentive. If a country’s production rate starts at zero it can grow at a rapid pace indeed, especially by inducing capitalism. For Chinese, (THE PEOPLE) “better” is relative. While you’re driving around in your Japanese car, and traveling to foreign lands these people are riding their grandfathers’ bicycles to work. They don’t even know its possible to live your way. Their autocratic government can keep making things better by such small increments that the Chinese people can take 1,000 years to catch up with you. “Bashing”? …eat a fat one.